Turkey Point Lighthouse: Local Seafare History
Turkey Point Lighthouse was built in 1833 as a navigational instrument. It gave ships time to safely navigate into the mouth of the newly constructed C & D Canal.
Three brass oil lamps were cleaned and filled every day. Although the lighthouse only required one lamp, an additional lamp was always kept ready for emergency use.
A third brass oil lamp was used to allow light keepers to go to and from the lighthouse at night. This was an Aladdin lamp because of its superior brightness.
Additionally, the lighthouse had a fourth order Fresnel lens that was imported from France. To ensure that the lens projected light 13 miles down the bay, the prisms had to be cleaned daily.
On a weekly basis, it was polished with the wick trimmed. The lamp was also lit and extinguished.
Self-Sufficiency: A Key To Life at Turkey Point Lighthouse
Because the lighthouse was isolated, it was necessary for the light keeper and his family to be self-sufficient. (North East was 12 miles away, a considerable distance at the time.)
Light keepers had to be of rugged stock to live the this lifestyle. They farmed the nearby land, hunted, and fished the Chesapeake Bay to put food on the table. In all, there were 10 light keepers.
Of that, four were women. Three of the four were wives that succeeded their husbands upon their death.
The Lighthouse Today
Today, visitors enjoy the beautiful Chesapeake Bay, while watching sailboats glide by. Geese and swans also make regular appearances, to the delight of all.
And a lot of people visit the lighthouse from around the world. An estimated 40,000 take the 1.6 mile hike to hear and see the colorful history behind the lighthouse, and to imagine life more than a century ago.
Bring a picnic lunch, enjoy a breathtaking sunset, and take lots of pictures. You’ll want to capture every moment of such an extraordinary day.
Plan to stay at the Great Oak Manor, too. We’ll share with you many other sites and activities you can enjoy!